A rare hen harrier chick raised on a north Cumbrian reserve has taken flight.

The male bird, named Bonny, was the only chick to hatch from five eggs at the RSPB's site at Geltsdale, near Brampton.

And it is one of only seven to fledge nests in the whole of England this season, the others coming from two nests in Northumberland.

The success of the young bird taking flight will be seen as a huge boost to conservation efforts in Cumbria, with the county gaining a growing reputation for its efforts to reintroduce rare birds, most prolifically ospreys at Bassenthwaite.

Bonny has already achieved national fame, his name having been chosen by television presenter Chris Packham from a competition that attracted more than 2,300 entries.

Hen harriers are on the verge of extinction in England, with illegal killings on grouse moors blamed for many of the problems.

RSPB officials have described Bonny's survival as "a classic tale of triumph over adversity, defying the odds at every turn".

Blanaid Denman, who's heading the RSPB's hen harrier project, explained how.

He said: "Bonny’s mother arrived at the reserve in May looking for a mate but she had to wait several weeks for a male to turn up.

"When one finally did appear, she was not impressed.

"He was young and yet to gain his adult grey plumage. Normally, in a healthy population of hen harriers, an immature male like this wouldn't get a look in.

"But with so few birds in England, the female had little option but to accept his advances or leave breeding to another year.”

Once it had been confirmed there was a nest, RSPB staff and volunteers mounted a 24/7 watch and provided supplementary food to ensure that the family had the best possible chance of survival and success.

Blanaid added: "The supplementary food proved vital as the inexperienced male was hopelessly inattentive of his dependent female, often vanishing for days before reappearing with a paltry food offering.

"The extra food ensured that the female never had to go far from the nest to feed Bonny or herself."

Bonny has been satellite tagged so that his movements can be monitored as part of conservation efforts to stop the breed of bird from being wiped out.

Now that he has fledged, it is expected that he will leave Geltsdale in a few weeks' time.

People will be able to follow his movements online at rspb.org.uk/henharrierlife or following @RSPB_Skydancer on Twitter.